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The complexity of ranking suits in poker games

The quick and unsatisfying answer to questions about how to rank suits in poker is “It depends.” It depends on what variety of poker you’re playing as much as it depends on where you’re playing it. There are no hard and fast standard rules for how suits are ranked. It changes between different varieties of the game as much as it changes from geographic location to geographic location. Even in Canada there are no standards for how to rank suits in a game of poker. One casino might handle suits one way, and another could use the exact opposite rules. It all depends.

A more satisfying answer to this question, perhaps, is that the issue of ranking suits isn’t that relevant in many poker games. In this respect, grasping the complexities of how different games and different locations tackle the issue isn’t important. But there are some things, such as deciding which player will be the first to deal, that are determined by dealing a card to every player and then the player with the highest card is selected. In these circumstances, it’s important to understand how to rank the cards appropriately, but it won’t make or break the game for you.

In Canada, there are two common ranking conventions. First, the alphabetical order ranking of suits is quite common, with spades being the highest-ranked suit followed by hearts, diamonds, and then clubs. Second, the alternating colors ranking of suits, in which spades are the highest-ranked suit followed by hearts, clubs, then diamonds, is also common. However, it’s safest not to assume you know how the suits are ranked and instead make sure you ask!

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